End-to-end solutions, which are systems developed using only components made by a specific manufacturer, have also been heavily promoted as superior to "open systems," which operate using products from multiple vendors. However, manufacturers develop cabling technologies to be used in interoperable, open systems. The TIA's Commercial Building Wiring Standard (TIA-568) was established to encourage interoperability by allowing diverse manufacturers the opportunity to build equipment and components that will interoperate. An interoperable system can go a long way in helping your end-user save money. In addition to installing open infrastructure systems, end-users can also cut costs by buying infrastructure cabling directly from the manufacturers, instead of going through the traditional supply chain, which follows a multi-tiered distribution channel with various levels of markups.
Installing high performance cables instead of standard cables is another way to help end-users create a flexible system while balancing cost and future-proofing. Lower performing cabling has been shown to cost significantly more over the entire life cycle of the product than high performance cabling. In addition, high performance cabling has a longer lifespan than standard performance cabling, which means fewer standard performance cables will be abandoned in the future. Abandoned cables not only mean excessive waste, but if left in conduits, they block airflow, resulting in increased cooling costs.
Fiber optic cables, which transmit larger amounts of data at higher speeds over greater distances using fewer cables, provide yet another option to help end-users balance the increasing need for speed and high-volume data transfer with the cost of technology. Fiber optic cables also help reduce power consumption, which in turn can lower overall energy costs.
There are many elements of an end-users system infrastructure that must be examined before they adapt to the latest technology or make any additions to their current network. Dealers and systems integrators can work with the end-user and educate them on the best infrastructure design for their business, based on their capabilities and requirements now and into the future.
John Persuitte, a Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) since 2006, is a project manager at Automated Systems Design (ASD), Alpharetta, Ga. Persuitte has more than 15 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and is currently in charge of managing all project aspects from design and consultation to construction and completion at ASD.
The key to future-proofing is building a flexible infrastructure system instead of using rip-and-replace methodology.